Anyone who has spent more than five minutes on social media can tell you that most platforms have a lot of trolls, answer people, and other people who may be uncomfortable to interact with. On major platforms like Twitter, Faecbook, and Instagram, you can keep someone out of your feed with the option to block another user. Blocking is far from a perfect solution, but at least it gives users the ability to keep using the platforms and avoid (some) awkward interactions.

But Will Oremus writes for The AtlanticAnnual audio chat platform Clubhouse has a different blocking mechanism that involves more than just the blocker and blocker (I know, but what would you call it?):

If you block someone in the clubhouse, it will not only affect the communication between the two of you, but also on Facebook or Twitter. Rather, it limits the way that person can communicate with others as well. Once blocked, they won’t be able to join or see any room you are creating or speaking in – effectively blocking them from everyone else in that room. When you are brought on stage by the audience to speak, anyone else in the audience that you have blocked will be kept off the stage for as long as you are up there. And if you are a moderator of a room, you can block a loudspeaker and start it in real time from the conversation – even if it is in the middle of a sentence.

Essentially, a “black badge” in the clubhouse can limit who speaks where and when on the platform. As Oremus notes, blocking another person in the clubhouse for multiple interactions is a social act. And members of underrepresented groups said blocking in the clubhouse can be “armed” to suppress certain points of view or restrict conversation:

A black woman in her twenties studying medicine said she was banned from rooms discussing vaccination in black communities because an influential anti-vaxxer visiting those rooms blocked her. She was also suddenly expelled from a week WandaVision Watch party club that had become her favorite experience on the app, obviously because a member blocked her.

The enthusiasm for the clubhouse, which attracted 10 million users in its opening year, has increased started to hiss a little bit; A version for Android devices was released recently and new users can only join if invited by a current user. Added to this is the increasing popularity and Excellent accessibility to Twitter’s Spaces audio chat platformand it seems the clubhouse is about to take a bumpy ride. Read this analysis why its unusual blocking system may ultimately contribute to the platform’s demise.

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